ISLAMABAD, April 21: A passenger jet on Wednesday crashed into the Margalla Hills overlooking Islamabad in heavy rain amid poor visibility, killing all 155 people on board, including women and children.
According to PTI, the Airbus A321 operated by private airline Airblue -- which had 147 passengers and eight crew aboard -- hit the Margalla Hills near Daman-e-Koh viewpoint at about 10 am local time and turned into a ball of fire as it exploded into pieces.
It also said the plane was about to land at the Islamabad airport when it lost radio contact with the control tower and later crashed into the thickly-forested hills overlooking the capital city, officials said.
There have been, however, conflicting reports about the number of passengers onboard at the time of the crash. The aircraft had taken off from Karanchi at 7: 50 am and was scheduled to land in Islamabad after two hours.
BBC has put the number at 152, whereas IANS has said there were 127 passengers traveling on the plane, when the crash happened.
However, the agencies have ruled out any chance of survivors in the crash described as the worst in Pakistan´s aviation history in recent times.
Reports also said recovery operations are being hampered by bad weather and the crash site, on a steep hill, has no roads.
Also, witnesses have said many bodies were difficult to identify as they were mutilated and burnt. Likewise, rescue workers have said they had gathered heads and limbs in bags.
Officials have been quoted as saying that they believed the crash was caused by bad weather. However, the exact cause would be ascertained by an inquiry to be conducted by the Civil Aviation Authority.